Pop Therapy

Established: August 25, 2015


Stress is considered to be a modern day “global epidemic”; so given the widespread nature of this problem, it would be beneficial if solutions that help people to learn how to cope better with stress were scalable beyond what individual or group therapies can provide today. Therefore, in this work, we study the potential of the internet as a pervasive medium to provide “crowd therapy”.

We have designed a contextually-aware mobile stress management platform inspired by pop culture. To do this, we take advantage of psychotherapy and popular media mixed with powerful machine learning algorithms aimed at reducing the barriers for adoption and maximizing learned coping strategies. Our novel intervention design process intersects psychotherapy theories with popular web apps in order to create simple tasks that can be used as micro-interventions for stress and depression. In addition, machine learning algorithms drive the delivery of such interventions based on a user’s personal context. We have run a longitudinal experiment that shows how users benefit from these interventions with a reduction in depression and improved coping mechanisms. We hope that new users will now download this app and use it in order to bolster their repertoire for tackling every day stress and depression.